I see part of my job as allowing kids to just be kids. I think we force our kids to grow up way too fast sometimes. Life and circumstances in the Native American culture forces kids to act as adults and to mask what’s really going on in their lives by showing a tough exterior to the world.
Having said all that, I get a big kick out of big tough guys who come into our program wanting to race rubber duckies or are dead serious when they say “I don’t want that flower, I want this one” in their freshly painted flower pot. I suppose there’s a little bit of competitiveness involved; they just aren't going to let anyone show them up no matter what the activity it is. They drop the tough guy persona for a few moments and allow themselves to enjoy life. It’s kind of refreshing that they can leave their troubles behind for a little bit.
I have to remember to program more moments that just allow them to let go of life for a little bit.